Intra-annual height growth dynamics of Scots and lodgepole pines and its relationship with meteorological parameters in central Latvia
¹Latvian State Forest Institute ‘Silava’, Rigas 111, LV 2169 Salaspils, Latvia
²Nature Conservation Agency, Baznīcas 7, LV 2150 Sigulda, Latvia
³Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Forestry Faculty, Liela 2, LV-3001 Jelgava, Latvia
The Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) is the second-most widely used tree species in forestry in Latvia and is the only species used for afforestation on nutrient poor soils that cover considerable forest land in Latvia. Several studies have shown that, in such conditions, the lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) may be more productive in terms of biomass and yield. It is important to consider climate change studies to assess the potential for a larger-scale use of the lodgepole pine in forestry. The aim was to assess the intra-annual height growth patterns of both species, the differences between them, and the influence of meteorological parameters on their height growth. Their height growth was monitored on a weekly basis in two sampling sites in central Latvia, and the height increment curves were described by Gompertz’s model. The height growth dynamics of individual trees and species differed notably, indicating the potential for the selection of the best-adapted genotypes. Our results indicate that the early onset of the active growth phase might be the most important factor determining the total height increment for both species. Temperature-related meteorological parameters were the only ones with a statistically significant influence on pines height growth and only when at least one of the variables were standardised prior to the analysis. A temperature increase had a slightly stronger positive effect on the growth of the lodgepole pine, indicating that it might be suitable for more intensive use in forestry under the climate change scenarios for Latvia.